When I announced that I was doing a blog series on Women Business Owners, Kristen contacted me with interest in being featured in the blog. While this blog series was intended for women who own their own small businesses, the way Kristen advocated for herself in the message she sent me really made me feel like she was perfect for this series. Kristen explained that 2 years ago, she embarked on a journey of becoming a financial advisor, while caring for her 3 year old and 8 year old. While Kristen is part of the Baystate Financial Brand, she runs her own part of the business independently.
I met Kristen at her office on a Sunday morning and was honestly amazed when I learned that she planned on staying in the office to work… on a Sunday afternoon! As a mother and a business owner, sometimes that’s what needs to happen. Kristen told me about how she strives to be a relatable financial planner. Someone who understands what it’s like to be lost in this world of personal finance and lost trying to figure out how to set yourself up for retirement. Based on my chat with her, I’d say she very successfully portrays being a relatable person who totally gets how confusing all of this stuff can be.
A few weeks later, I had the opportunity to actually watch Kristen in action. She was giving a Money Matters presentation at the Bird and Bear Collective in Holliston. Kristen chatted with us about small business and personal finance. She was so great at answering everyone’s questions and felt so approachable about everything. She made the talk fun, instead of scary, and I think she put everyone at ease thinking about their own small business and personal finances. So many different topics came up during her presentation and if she didn’t feel we had time to discuss during her presentation, she offered to be available at a later time for one on one questions.
As usual, I sent along some questions for Kristen to answer prior to our meeting! Keep scrolling to see her responses below!
What’s the name of your business and where is your business located?
Hi, my name is Kristen Heller and I am a financial advisor with a business proudly built under the Baystate Financial umbrella. This wonderful partnership allows me to provide the personalization of owning a private financial practice with the infrastructure of a large corporate company to support my clients at the highest level.
What type of business is it?
As a financial advisor, I work with clients to gain clarity of their future life desires and then build a process for them to follow - from a financial perspective – to allow these goals to come to fruition. My relationships with my clients allow us to work together seamlessly throughout the entire process. If curveballs ever occur, we can strategically detour together and get right back on track, with full transparency and a true sense of a partnership.
Tell me a little bit about yourself?
My husband Chris and I have lived in Holliston for the last decade and are enjoying raising our two boys in this wonderful community. Our boys are actively involved in sports, Cub Scouts and enjoy visits to the ocean down the cape, skiing in New Hampshire and hiking in Vermont as much as we do. We love being New Englanders and are thankful our children love the outdoors and history here as well.
As much as I enjoy family time and the great outdoors, I also have a love for finances and over the years, I worked hard creating strategies and organizing our own personal finances while working in the financial departments of big companies. Naturally my enthusiasm for the subject spilled into my personal life and I became the go-to person in my friend circle to talk to about money. When my mom’s health shifted a few years back, I found myself at a crossroads where I was sandwiched between managing care for my mom and raising my boys. I needed something to put all my energy into that was mine; just mine. Something I had control over and was held accountable for where the rise and fall of my success was built on the work and efforts I made. As a result, my advising practice was born.
I started my journey of financial success consulting a financial advisor and have built my practice based on the expectations I had as a client. Now years later, being able to fulfill those expectations for personal finance is my goal for every one of my clients.
What has your biggest challenge been starting your own business?
The biggest challenge in starting my own business has been overcoming the employee versus owner mindset. Owning my own business after years of being an employee is an incredibly rewarding experience but also incredibly different It took me awhile to wrap my head around the fact there was no one to tell me what needed to be done, no one to give me an annual review, no one to give me a raise because I’m doing a good job. As an owner, decisions and work dictate what needs to be done, my clients give me my reviews, hours vary upon what works best for family and clients and the only raise I get is from new clients.
What is your favorite part about running your own business?
While the biggest challenge for me was transitioning to an owner mindset, my favorite part of the business is the freedom that comes when you finally embrace the owner role. When a client has something to say about the work we are doing, I can revel in that conversation knowing I helped create that feeling. Being an owner also allows me to have a better work-life balance and the flexibility to be more present for my family, enjoy attending my children’s soccer games and scouting events. Lastly, I am able to choose hours that work best for my clients instead of being confined to typical hours of financial institutions.
What is one thing you wish you knew before getting started?
I wish I had realized before owning my own business how much it truly takes over your life, even if it is for the better. Similar to having children, no one really prepares you for how much your life changes and in many ways, owning a business is like having a child. As a business owner, you find ways to integrate business into everything you are doing. My reading list now is a list of either business or finance books. My podcast list is full of financial advisors. My social networks are blurred with friends, business partners and clients. I coordinate travel for work with travel for pleasure, killing two birds in one flight so to speak. While this new life style has its perks, similarly to parenthood, a good balance is always important and therefore I am constantly reminding myself to stop my brain, enjoy the moment, focus on the things in life we all work for (outside of the office) and to truly relish quality time with my family and friends.
What advice do you have for anyone trying to start their own business?
The best advice I can give to anyone starting their own business is get ready to work hard, fail and stand up again. Check your ego at the door and ask for help in the areas you don’t know or understand because there will be a lot to learn. Whether its marketing, selling yourself or doing the back end administrative stuff, it all needs to get done and you are only one person.
Who is your role model/who inspired you to start your own business?
My inspiration for wanting to own a business started years ago during undergrad. I studied abroad for a year in college and the majority of the people I met, the businesses I frequented and the friends I made had a family run business. The impact that one year made on my life is instrumental in who I am today. There is a grit and determination in owners I’ve met over my lifetime. There is also a deep pride to be had when you know you’ve created a business that has a positive impact on other people in your community.
Kristen Heller is a financial advisor and a registered representative of MML Investors Services, LLC (Member SIPC). Branch address: 134 Turnpike Road, Southborough, Ma
You can follow Kristen on Facebook by clicking here!
Thanks for stopping by!